What is Black Water & What Should be Done About it?

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Have you ever dealt with flooding and water damage in your home before?  If so, you may have heard your restoration technician talk about something called “black water”.  Essentially, black water is wastewater from your sewage system which is loaded with materials such as feces and grease and is known for containing harmful biological contaminants. Black water can also contain large amounts of pharmaceuticals, especially if it is coming from a home in which a sick person resides. These highly dangerous materials can pose real health hazards to you and your family and should be dealt with immediately.

The Dangers of Black Water

Many people assume that as long as you do not come in direct contact with your sewage system, you are safe from the harmful effects of black water. However, some people are unaware of how easy it is to come into contact with this dangerous water type. Your toilet is one of the most obvious sources of black water because human waste is generally regarded as a biohazard, especially when people are sick: it can contain bacteria and pathogens that could potentially be passed on to others with improper handling.

While the presence of black water in your kitchen tends to be slightly less dangerous than the presence of black water in your bathroom, it is still likely to contain nasty germs. Basically, anywhere around your house where you use water, from your bathroom to your kitchen to your laundry room, has the potential to expose you to black water, and with it, various airborne pathogens and bacteria.

Black water should be left strictly for the professionals to handle it is too dangerous and toxic for the average homeowner to tackle by themselves. Specialized equipment is required to clear out an area of black water safely without causing harm to the health of both the humans and animals who reside in the space. Extended exposure to black water can lead to infections, illnesses, and long-term respiratory problems, while coming into contact with it exposes a human to even more serious health risks.

How to Safely Clean up Black Water After a Flood

Cleaning up after a flood of highly contaminated water requires a lot more than just a mop and bucket. Water can cause significant damage and spread quickly, so you must prioritize your safety and the safety of others. Hiring flood damage restoration experts will always ensure a thorough cleanup since they have the experience and equipment to properly take care of the job. Here are six steps to follow if water infiltrates your home:

1. Wear Personal Protective Equipment

Wearing PPE is essential for anyone cleaning up black water in a flooded area.  Everyone who is not working on the cleanup should be kept out of the affected area, particularly children and pets. PPE items can include mask, latex gloves, coveralls, hair covers, shoe covers and safety glasses. All of these items can protect the wearer from hazards in the water and air and protect the home from cross-contamination to unaffected areas.

2. Extract Excess Water

Quickly remove standing water with a wet/dry vacuum, which makes cleanup much easier.

3. Remove Contents from Affected Area

Next, it’s important to remove as many contents as possible. By doing this, it will give you more space to work. Removing all the contents will also enable you to sort the salvageable items more easily from the unsalvageable ones and clean the ones you’re keeping.

4. Discard Ruined Items

Water damage will completely ruin some things, particularly porous items like upholstered furniture and carpet. Most likely, you will find contents that have too much water damage to be saved. Others, you will not be able to clean and sanitize properly. You may even have to tear out some drywall and flooring and replace it.

5. Clean and Sanitize All Surfaces

Thoroughly clean and sanitize everything, including cracks and crevices, as water and bacteria can get into very small spaces.

6. Dry Everything Thoroughly

One of the most critical jobs you can do after flooding and water damage is dry the site and contents as quickly as possible. Mold can begin growing within 24 hours and can spread into other areas of your home. Hopefully you will never experience a flood in your home, but if you do, it’s good to be prepared with the knowledge of how to mitigate the water damage by removing the black water.

The Jones Companies Offers Professional Water Damage Cleanup

As cleaning and restoration experts, The Jones Companies is equipped to deal with all types of water damage. Black water specifically falls into what we call Category 3 water damage, which poses the biggest risks to homes and commercial businesses. We are available 24/7 for emergency calls and will even help you navigate the insurance process after our work is completed!

To schedule black water clean-up today, call The Jones Companies at 910-455-9960!